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Federal Legislation

This guide covers the legislative process as well as a selective list of reference tools for finding legislative materials in print and on the Web.


Screenshot of the first page of a bill from the 111th congress

Identifying / Researching Bills

A bill is a legislative proposal brought before Congress in either the House or the Senate.

Bills introduced in the House are assigned sequential numbers in the order in which they are introduced and are preceded by "H.R.".

Bills introduced in the Senate are assigned sequential numbers preceded by "S.".

The vast majority of legislative proposals are in the form of bills.

Search for bills by: number, keyword, public law number, sponsor.

Any of the following sources are useful for identifying a bill that is being considered in  Congress.

Some of these sources will also provide some background information on the bill and usually references to report numbers, PL numbers and other information. 
Use the Congressional Publications database if the fulltext of reports, prints are not available on other sites.